Bumblebee: Movie Review

For a franchise known for its over-the-top action, convoluted plot lines, and unnecessary over-the-top explosive fluff, "Bumblebee" is a complete 180. The film takes a back-to-basics approach that features more emotion, more heart, and a well-rounded experience not seen before in the franchise.

Cybertron has been lost and the only way for the Autobot resistance to survive is to regroup in secret and far-flung planets. Bumblebee is tasked to hide on Earth until Optimus Prime finds a way to contact him but this is easier said than done as he finds hostile humans and a Decepticon who almost kills him. He scapes but has to hide in plain sight as an old, derelict yellow VW bug. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, in a junk shop broken. When Charlie is able to revive him, she quickly finds herself not only with an other-worldly entity but one that could be the companion she needs to guide her in her tumultuous life.
"Bumblebee" works on literally a clean slate and it works. Gone are the usual fluff that made the franchise unbearable to watch. If the previous experiences were a bloated and explosive mess, "Bumblebee" is a slim, straight to the point experience that will make audiences swoon. This is the "Transformers" film we all deserve. In the middle of the film's success is the tremendous acting from Hailee Steinfeld who was able to put some emotional pull. This is probably the first time in the franchise that we found ourselves able to deeply-relate to the main character. The visual effects are awesome as expected but the toned down nature helped us see the action better. The action is still up-close and definitely intense but it is less focused on the robots themselves and more on the choreography. Plus, lesser explosions helps a lot. The screenplay was the biggest downside for the film. While it was straight-forward, it was also a little too formulaic at times. A heavy focus on the characters and less on its sci-fi at least made it very easy to digest and follow. Overall, "Bumblebee" is no doubt the best entry in the franchise.
Rating: 4 and a half reels

Why you should watch it:
- straight to the point with no convoluted plotlines
- a heart-warming story of friendship that we never expected from a Transformers film

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the film still had a penchant to be a little silly at times

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